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Last Dominion Lost - Abomination Of Desolation

Last Dominion Lost was the project of Jon Evans, Julian Percy and John Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2015. The trio produced the albums Towers of Silence and Snowdrops From A Curate's Garden. The genesis of Abomination Of Desolation evolved from an album John Murphy intended for his solo electronic project Krank reflecting on his experiences when he was first hospitalized, comatose, and hooked to a breathing machine which was constantly creating bizarre sounds. It was completed following his death with the inclusion of Till Brügemann (of Gerechtigkeits Liga), who assisted Murphy in the final Krank recordings, and who has since been enlisted as a full-time member of Last Dominion Lost, long after his vocal contributions to Towers of Silence, the first album from the revived Last Dominion Lost.

The roots of Last Dominion Lost are to be found in the history of SPK, Australia's pioneering industrial group and cultural cohorts of Throbbing Gristle. Some of the original formation of Last Dominion Lost including John Murphy and Dominic Guerin performed alongside Graeme Revell in SPK - as did John Murphy's wife Annie Stubbs, another continuing presence on Last Dominion Lost releases. Last Dominion Lost continue as a contemporary conduit for these interests, with a rhythmic and electronic industrial based sound. Following in the path of SPK, psycho-pathology and mental illness remain recurrent themes for Last Dominion Lost. The live recording Snowdrops From A Curate's Garden focussed on the dispossessed early settlers of Australia who were often confined to asylums upon their arrival. That fascination with the disturbed and (dis)possessed may account for the garbled, cracked and processed voices that are given voice on Abomination Of Desolation. What's missing from Abomination Of Desolation is the more vocal and rhythmic based songs that featured on their earlier recordings - largely due to the absence of John Murphy - leaving a myriad of treated, processed and hellish voices and samples to provide vocal accompaniment to the uneasy atmospheres and terror filled textures generated from analogue and digital electronics, guitar and percussion. Last Dominion Lost, it's fair to say, bring a contemporary edge to old school industrial electronics.

Abomination Of Desolation open with the industrial and atmospheric 'Overture To Desolation' where harrowing screams and cries are unleashed over dark creeping electronics, sparse ritual industrial percussion and smashed glass. 'Diminutive Cruciform' continues with a dank ritualised atmosphere of devilish growls, punctuated by shrieks and percussive clatter, layered over a distant chorus of voices as a twisted vocal unleashes untold terror. Abomination Of Desolation foregoes standard vocals for voices pitched somewhere in a hellish netherworld. It's most noticeable on 'Irrumatio Del Mortis' where an unholy assortment of garbled voices, distorted and distended, only add to the confusion created by the dark melange of darting processed frequencies and glinting electronics. That characteristic wail of John Murphy wafts through this and throughout Abomination Of Desolation reminding us of the loss of one of industrial music's finest percussionists. Since writing this Z'EV another pioneering industrial percussionist has passed away and he's another one we'll miss too.

Blending occult orders with psychopathic traits of SPK, the abstract wailing electronics and heavily effected vocal tones of 'The Ninth Angle' loom over a bed of rhythmic thuds and rolling drums. While 'The Ninth Angle' bustles to an industrial physicality 'Bludger's Hill' is much more ominous and suspenseful with low quivering electronics, riddled with a location recording seemingly of a violent domestic scene. 'Devil's Park' which features a contribution from Nikolas Schreck - Murphy supplied percussion and drums to one of Schreck's live sonic rituals - on keyboards is another tension filled track. Amidst creeping and grating electronics augmented by percussive whips, a sampled spoken voice emerges seeking a sky based visualisation in whispered intonations: "look at the clouds, gaze into its depths, deeper, deeper do you see?". You could also read that as an allusion to the sky based burial practices referred to in their earlier Towers of Silence album.

Much of Abomination Of Desolation features carefully crafted electronics and textures but 'Blueprint For Urban Warfare' is by far the most song based offering. Of sorts, anyway. Over rolls of hollow drum rhythms, a voice in disturbed tones jabbers amidst blasts of distorted frequencies, scraping cello and walls of electronic noise. Blueprint For Urban Warfare was a manuscript written by Garry David whilst incarcerated for robbery and attempted murder. A key case study in Australian crime and psychiatry his writings were enough to deem him mentally ill thwarting his scheduled release from prison. It's another example of Last Dominion Lost looking to real life case studies to underline their interests and concerns.

John Murphy's widow Annie Stubbs guests on 'Beyond The Valley Of The Flies' her soft murmurings drifting over glinting tones, shifting caverns of sounds and slivers of metallic percussion. It's a rare moment of serene restraint on Abomination Of Desolation before the bombast of 'Cursed Earth' which opens with thunder claps before slabs of heaving electronics punctuated by industrialised metallic clang, are shrouded in waves of guitar feedback and vocals rendered in distorted phasing, the nearest we get to a power electronic take of Last Dominion Lost.

Given its context there's very little in the way of light relief on Abomination Of Desolation but arcs of laughter break out over scales of horror film keys and a series of frequencies on the closing 'The Abomination Of Desolation'. Unfolding just like a death march, the voice of John Murphy emerges. "Likely, likely", he utters, over churning textures and soft cello movements as percussion rattles shake like shackles being shorn as it continues onwards on its path onto the next world.

Abomination Of Desolation is a bleaker and denser more electronic based album than its predecessors. John Murphy and his death, naturally looms heavily over Abomination Of Desolation. His shania wails are absent and his percussive role is replaced and supported by other guest musicians including one former member of Slub. And yet it's clear on the basis of Abomination Of Desolation the continuation of Last Dominion Lost is safe in the hands of the remaining members. Abomination Of Desolation is a prime slice of contemporary industrial music. On Abomination Of Desolation Last Dominion Lost sink into darker and more desolate areas but their intensity and vision remains undimmed. Abomination Of Desolation is released on CD in an edition of 500 copies and on vinyl in an edition of 300 copies. For more information go to The Epicurean